Nuggets playoffs: Mapping easiest and toughest paths to repeating as NBA champions

Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets / Brendall O'Banon/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages
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Final path comparisons

Easiest: Pelicans > Timberwolves > Kings > Heat

This is the path of least resistance and would likely go down as a historically easy run to a championship. They’d end up facing a seven seed, a three seed, an eight seed, and then either a seven or eight in the Finals. They would face three West teams that have zero playoff pedigree and no team that has won a playoff series with their current core.

All that for a rematch of last year’s Finals against a slightly worse version of the Miami Heat. The Nuggets have already won a ring, so it would be hard to take away from the accomplishment, but there would undoubtedly be some skeptics rolling their eyes if this was the eventual path to a second title.

Toughest: Lakers > Suns > Mavericks > Celtics

Now THIS would be a championship run. They’d have to go through the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Luke Doncic, and Kyrie Irving just to meet one of the most dominant juggernauts in NBA regular season history in the Celtics.

Interestingly, I didn’t put any of the top 4 teams in the West in the toughest path but that’s just the way the bracket broke this season. I do think the Clippers and Thunder could both pose a challenge and would be tough to beat at full strength. But I don’t love the size and inside game of either team, so I gave the nod to the Mavericks.

At the end of the day, the path will probably end up somewhere between these two extremes - if they go on any path at all. But it’s always nice to lay out the possibilities and give the fans an idea of what they should be rooting for. Buckle up, we should be in for a very fun (and stressful) couple of months. Go Nuggets!